6 March 2018, Writing - part x424, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Entertainment
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy. I'll keep you informed. More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
1. Design the initial scene
2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a. Research as required
b. Develop the initial setting
c. Develop the characters
d. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5. Write the climax scene
6. Write the falling action scene(s)
7. Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 29: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development outline:
1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and writing. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
Characters are the key to great writing. Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing. The key to entertainment is character revelation. If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and I would say, great protagonist’s helpers.
The classical protagonist is also a romantic protagonist. The reason for this is that the current style and philosophy for art and literature is romantic. I assert that we are still in the age of romanticism in art and literature. I realize this is a potentially controversial statement, but I think I can prove that this is absolutely true. Let’s look at the characteristics of romanticism:
Interest in the common man and childhood
Romantics believed in the natural goodness of humans which is hindered by the urban life of civilization. They believed that the savage is noble, childhood is good and the emotions inspired by both beliefs causes the heart to soar.
Strong senses, emotions, and feelings
Romantics believed that knowledge is gained through intuition rather than deduction. This is best summed up by Wordsworth who stated that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
Awe of nature
Romantics stressed the awe of nature in art and language and the experience of sublimity through a connection with nature. Romantics rejected the rationalization of nature by the previous thinkers of the Enlightenment period.
Celebration of the individual
Romantics often elevated the achievements of the misunderstood, heroic individual outcast.
Importance of imagination
Romantics legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority
If you are at all connected in arts and literature, you can’t help but acknowledge that each of the five ideals of romanticism are in action in the arts today. Must I spell it out?
In case you haven’t noticed, one of the major changes from the earlier stage of realism is the idea of the natural goodness of humanity. This view perpetrates the completely incorrect view of the noble savage and the negativity of the urban existence. It is also where the idea of the purity of childhood and the wisdom of the naïve. If you don’t understand this, just look at most commercials directed to children. Children are lauded as the noble and perfect in knowledge and wisdom—it’s a great way to sell to children, but is a testament to romanticism in modern thinking.
The second ideal is pathos (strong senses, emotions, and feelings). This idea goes back to the Greeks and is reasoned. This is the opposite of the British and American idea of pluck. Emotions in romanticism are worn on the sleeves—men and boys can be safe to cry and etc. You can see this in all kinds of tenants in our popular culture.
The reflection of nature in culture is very powerful and perhaps growing today. You can see this in the many ideas and organizations from the Sierra Club to Greenpeace to AGW and recycling. Whatever your own views are about these organizations and ideas, they are part of the modern culture and part of romanticism.
In the fourth ideal, the individual is king. It isn’t the team, it’s the quarterback. It isn’t the team, it’s the pitcher. Superheroes can’t work together, and they win or lose based on their individualism. Even when we have teams and teamwork, the individual is still the star and the public, steeped in romanticism, are always looking for a hero or a celebrity.
The last idea is perhaps the best and most important. In romanticism, the most important part of art and literature is the imagination. Look at popular art (movies) and literature. Harry Potty, sparkly vampires, superheroes, science fiction, Tolkien, Star Wars, Star Trek, and all. Imagination and fantasy is the basis for much of popular entertainment and worst, truth, history, and science, has taken a backseat on the bus to imagination and story.
My point is simple. If you want to write entertaining literature, you need to focus in romanticism. Your characters need to be romantic. Your plots need to touch the ideas of romanticism. You don’t have to gag down the popular cultural ideas that romanticism have brought, but you should integrate it into your writing—or at least keep it out of your writing. For example, if your characters do not show a proper sense of nature, you will have a problem retaining the interest of your readers. Not because you need to have nature fairy characters, but that readers don’t find litterbugs or polluters entertaining characters. What characteristics should you have in your characters and specifically protagonists?
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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